Issue 12: May 2014
In this issue of Setting the Example, we explore the topic that ethics is about much more than just corruption and compliance and we examine how organisations can better align personal employee values with the organisation’s values. We are also very pleased to share a preview of Cynthia Schoeman’s new book on ethics, Ethics can, which is due to be published later this year. This issue also includes interesting information on fraud: the findings of the Global Fraud Study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and changes in UK sentencing guidelines for fraud and money laundering.


Managing misconduct is often described as “a fight”, whether against corruption, bribery, fraud or a range of other unethical and illegal behaviours. This illustrates the fact that seeking to eliminate or even to reduce misconduct is not an easy task: it can feel like an on-going battle. However, this can lead to a major imbalance when organisations focus virtually all their attention in the field of workplace ethics on curbing misconduct. While this focus is vital, it is not sufficient. Read more ...



It is widely accepted that values can be different for different people. The consequent challenge is that these differences can also lead to differences between employees’ personal values and the values of the organisation. Acting against this may appear to be curtailed by the fact that everyone enjoys the right to their personal values, a right supported by the Bill of Rights in the South Africa Constitution.

This personal right does not, however, eliminate the organisation’s right to expect employees to conform to its values within the context of the workplace and within the scope of the employer-employee relationship, nor does it prevent the organisation from taking action against those who contravene its values.

A more positive approach would be to focus on what can be done to realise the ideal goal of aligned personal and organisational values. Read more ...


ETHICS CAN by Cynthia Schoeman

To be published by Knowledge Resources in July/August 2014


This is a book about ethics in the workplace.

The title of the book, I’m sure, warrants an explanation. The book already had another title – a very long one and one that lacked the pizzazz of the title of my first ethics book, Ethics, Giving a Damn, Making a Difference. However, catching up on business reading in March 2014 changed that.

I happened to read the Bloomberg Businessweek 2014 Design Issue that captured the input from the many people who took part in their second annual design conference. A particularly noteworthy exchange was captured with Neville Brody, a British graphic designer and brand strategist who is the head of Brody Associates and dean of the School of Communication at the Royal College of Art in London. Asked to fill in the blank, “Design can ________”, he replied “That’s the full sentence. Design can. Ensuring that the world’s population has access to water, food, sanitation, a roof over their heads - all of that is design.” Maybe the better question is “What can’t design do?”.

This echoes the "Yes We Can" slogan used by Barack Obama in his 2008 presidential campaign to motivate and drive change for the better, which saw him elected as the American President in 2009.

I’m still grappling with the vast extent of Neville Brody’s claim about design and it will be for history to judge whether President Obama’s motto did translate into major positive change. However, I immediately saw the applicability of the “blank space” exercise to ethics. “Ethics can” is also the full sentence.

Ethics can build trust; it can create pleasant, productive workplaces that are characterised by high levels of fairness, respect, accountability and responsibility; it can foster sound relationships with internal and external stakeholders; it can position the organisation as an employee of choice, attracting and retaining the best talent; it can boost the organisation’s reputation and brand equity; it can create a high degree of customer and investor confidence; and it can and should be a key differentiator that accords ethical organisations a unique source of competitive advantage. In short, I believe that ethics can make all the difference. Read more...
Ethics Monitor Endorsement
“The Ethics Monitor survey provided valuable insight into our ethical performance and has improved the effectiveness of our ethics management.”
Pieter Schutte, CEO
Kristell Holtzhausen,
Company Secretary
The Insimbi Group of Companies


ACFE 2014 Global Fraud Study
The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) released its 2014 Global Fraud Study, which contains an analysis of 1,483 cases of occupational fraud that occurred in more than 100 countries.

The summary of findings reveals many interesting insights about occupational fraud, such as that survey participants estimated that the typical organisation loses 5% of revenues each year to fraud. If applied to the 2013 estimated Gross World Product, this translates to a potential projected global fraud loss of nearly $3.7 trillion. Read more …


New Indian government will be judged on how it tackles graft
by Gopal Sharma

Kathmandu (Thomson Reuters Foundation) Thursday 22 May 2014 - India's new government will be judged by its people on how it tackles rampant corruption in the country and whether it gives a new anti-graft watchdog the teeth to investigate top officials, Transparency International said on Wednesday. Read more …

(Let’s hope the same applies to South Africa’s newly re-elected government.)


UK fraud sentencing to be linked to the impact on victims

A Law Gazette article by Catherine Baksi reports that guidelines published in the UK will place the impact that fraud offences have on victims at the heart of new tougher sentencing. The Sentencing Council recommends judges pass longer sentences on fraudsters who target elderly and vulnerable victims or rip off the taxman. The guidance makes the impact on the victims, which has up to now been treated only as an aggravating factor, central to the sentencing. Read more …


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About Ethics Monitoring & Management Services (Pty) Ltd

Ethics Monitoring & Management Services was started by Cynthia Schoeman to help organisations to improve ethics in the workplace and to encourage them to manage ethics proactively. Cynthia developed The Ethics Monitor, a web-based ethics survey, which enables organisations to measure, monitor and report on their ethical status. Ethics Monitoring & Management Services also offers ethics talks, workshop, consulting and training.

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Cynthia Schoeman
Managing Director,
Ethics Monitoring & Management
Services (Pty) Ltd
011 447 7661; 082 821 3729;

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